Sunday, January 21, 2018

Speculative fiction winners at the PGA Awards include 'The Shape of Water,' 'Coco,' 'The Handmaid's Tale,' and 'Black Mirror'


At the end of 'The Shape of Water' and speculative fiction nominees galore at the BAFTA Awards, I wrote that I would blog about the speculative fiction winners at the PGA Awards today, so it's time for me to follow through.  The good news is that every category with at least one speculative fiction nominee had a speculative fiction winner.  Wochit Entertainment reports on the most prestigious category's winner in ‘The Shape of Water’ Wins Producers Guild Award.

Guillermo del Toro's "The Shape of Water" has been named the best-produced film of 2017 by the Producers Guild of America, an honor that has typically been one of the most reliable indicators that a film is on track to win the Oscar for Best Picture. In the television categories, "The Handmaid's Tale" won for drama, "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" for comedy and "Black Mirror" for longform TV. Pixar's "Coco," to the surprise of no one, won the award for animated feature, while "Jane" won the documentary award.
That description managed to summarize nearly all the categories I covered in 'Wonder Woman' joins 'The Shape of Water' and 'Get Out' among PGA film and TV nominees and then some.

Follow over the jump to read how my wishes and predictions for these categories fared.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

'The Last Jedi' picks up a nomination from the Costume Designers Guild plus other speculative fiction nominees


After writing about 'The Shape of Water' and speculative fiction nominees galore at the BAFTA Awards, I suggested today's topic.
I'm thinking about posting an entry listed the speculative fiction nominees at the Costume Designers Guild Awards tomorrow followed by the speculative fiction winners at the PGA Awards.  Stay tuned.
If "The Last Jedi" can earn a nomination at the Art Directors Guild Awards along with lots of other speculative fiction movies and TV shows, then maybe the Costume Designers Guild would reward speculative fiction as well.  After looking at the nominees, I was not disappointed.  Every category has at least one speculative fiction nominee to say nothing of two categories just for science fiction and fantasy.

Before I share all the nominees and my opinion of their chances of winning their categories, I'm sharing Wochit Entertainment asking Which Flix Score Costume Designers Guild Nominations?

Costume design is one of the most important components of big budget blockbusters. Wonder Woman, Thor: Ragnarok, and Star Wars: The Last Jedi were all recognized for their costumed contributions. The awards are broken down to categories for film and television. The categories include: Contemporary, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, and Period, as well as one for music videos. The winners of the Costume Designers Guild Awards are set to be announced February 20.
Yes, "Star Wars: The Last Jedi" earned another nomination to join the one for Production Design from the Art Directors Guild and Sound and Visual Effects from BAFTA.  At least my readers and I know what categories the professionals think it excels at.  Also, here are all the nominees "The Last Jedi," "Wonder Woman," and "Thor: Ragnarok" are competing against.
Excellence in Sci-Fi / Fantasy Film

Beauty and the Beast - Jacqueline Durran
Blade Runner 2049 - Renée April
Star Wars: The Last Jedi - Michael Kaplan
Thor: Ragnarok - Mayes C. Rubeo
Wonder Woman - Lindy Hemming
While I'm rooting for "The Last Jedi" and "Wonder Woman," I suspect "Beauty and the Beast" is the favorite.  It's the only one of the group nominated at the BAFTA Awards.
Excellence in Contemporary Film

Get Out – Nadine Haders
I, Tonya – Jennifer Johnson
Kingsman: The Golden Circle – Arianne Phillips
Lady Bird – April Napier
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri – Melissa Toth
One speculative fiction film earned a nomination in this category, "Get Out," two if one counts "Kingsman: The Golden Circle" as a comic book movie.  I think the latter has more fun outfits to look at.  That written, my pick is "I, Tonya," which was the only nominee in this category also nominated at the BAFTA Awards.
Excellence in Period Film

Dunkirk – Jeffrey Kurland
Greatest Showman, The – Ellen Mirojnick
Murder on the Orient Express – Alexandra Byrne
Phantom Thread – Mark Bridges
Shape of Water, The – Luis Sequeira
This is the one category where I think the speculative film nominee, "The Shape of Water," has a chance, as it was also nominated at the BAFTA Awards and Critics' Choice Awards.  However, it's competing against "Phantom Thread," which is not only nominated at the BAFTA Awards, but won the Critics' Choice Award for Best Costume Design.  Wochit Entertainment featured it in another clip about the nominations, Costume Designers Guild Recognizes ‘The Phantom Thread,’ ‘Beauty and the Beast’.


As much as I'm rooting for the monster romance, I think "Phantom Thread" is the favorite.  Still, speculative fiction did well with seven or eight of the fifteen nominees.

Follow over the jump for the television and short form nominees.

Friday, January 19, 2018

'The Shape of Water' and speculative fiction nominees galore at the BAFTA Awards


Last year, the dominant speculative fiction film at the BAFTA Awards was "Arrival," which was one of six winning speculative fiction movies and actors.  This year, it's "The Shape of Water," the most honored speculative fiction film of 2017.  Watch BAFTA Film Awards nominations 2018 announced by Letitia Wright and Natalie Dormer.

Watch Natalie Dormer and Letitia Wright reveal the nominations for this year's EE British Academy Film Awards.
Notice that every one of the nine categories announced (ten if one counts Rising Star) has at least one speculative fiction film or actor/actress in a speculative fiction film.  The same is true of nearly every category.  Those that don't have thrillers or documentaries about science nominated, so all are still on topic for this blog.

Follow over the jump for BBC's list of nominees along with my opinions about their chances.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

WXYZ on meteor explosion over Michigan


I told my readers to "stay tuned for more fantasy tomorrow as I write about the BAFTA nominees" at the end of yesterday's post about the Art Directors Guild Awards, but that's not happening today.*  Instead, I'm sharing a day's worth of coverage from WXYZ on the meteor that exploded over southeast Michigan during the evening of the 16th.

The coverage began with National Weather Service: Bright light, loud sound over SE Michigan was 'a likely meteor', which was from the 11 P.M. newscast on the 16th.

The National Weather Service says the bright flash and loud noise that has been heard throughout southwest Michigan was "likely" a meteor, but they will continue to monitor feeds.
That video went viral with 36,655 views and counting in 24 hours.

By the next morning, the meteor was confirmed as WXYZ reported Meteor lights up metro Detroit.

People across the area are still talking about the meteor that lit up the night sky over Michigan.
I'm with Sima Chowdhry; I missed it entirely, while friends of mine at work and on Facebook caught it.  I didn't even find out until the next morning when I was asked if my students could use articles about the meteor for extra credit (of course the answer was yes).  Darn.

Chowdhry mentioned people hunting for meteorites.  That was the main topic of Hunting for meteorites on Michigan soil.

The day after a meteor lit up the sky over Michigan, people were out looking for chunks of it as scientists explain exactly what happened.
It's amazing what the possibility of striking it rich will inspire people to do.

The hunt continued in Head of astronomy at Cranbrook says meteor debris may have landed near Mount Clemens.

Metro Detroit is waking up this morning after last night's meteor madness, wondering what exactly happened.
I hope the people actually found a meteorite.  As for the story, it's one I can tell for years whenever the subjects of meteors, meteorites, and asteroid stikes come up.

*I still plan on posting that entry tomorrow.  Stay tuned.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

'The Last Jedi' gets its first nomination plus speculative fiction in nearly every category of the Art Directors Guild Awards


I've twice promised to write about the Art Directors Guild Awards.  Today is the day to follow through.  Here are the nominations from Variety: ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi,’ ‘Dunkirk,’ ‘Lady Bird’ Nab Art Directors Guild Nominations.  Note that there are speculative fiction or science nominees in just about every category.  Also, "The Last Jedi" finally received a nomination from one of the Hollywood guilds after being passed over by the Writers Guild and Producers Guild, making this its first nomination.
1.    PERIOD FILM

DARKEST HOUR
Production Designer: SARAH GREENWOOD
DUNKIRK
Production Designer: NATHAN CROWLEY
MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS
Production Designer: JIM CLAY
THE POST
Production Designer: RICK CARTER
THE SHAPE OF WATER
Production Designer: PAUL DENHAM AUSTERBERRY
While "The Shape of Water" is a fantasy film, it's also a period one, so it earned a nomination here.  While it won Best Production Designt at the Critics' Choice Movie Awards, those are the critics, not the Hollywood professionals, so it might lose to "Murder on the Orient Express."  I hope it doesn't; I'm rooting for the monster.
2.    FANTASY FILM

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST
Production Designer: SARAH GREENWOOD
BLADE RUNNER 2049
Production Designer: DENNIS GASSNER
STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI
Production Designer: RICK HEINRICHS
WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES
Production Designer: JAMES CHINLUND
WONDER WOMAN
Production Designer: ALINE BONETTO
Here it is, the first nomination for "The Last Jedi."  It's also up against a slew of speculative fiction films here.  I'm not sure who to root for, although I really enjoyed "Wonder Woman."
3.    CONTEMPORARY FILM

DOWNSIZING
Production Designer: STEFANIA CELLA
GET OUT
Production Designer: RUSTY SMITH
LADY BIRD
Production Designer: CHRIS JONES
LOGAN
Production Designer: FRANÇOIS AUDOUY
THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI
Production Designer: INBAL WEINBERG
Two speculative fiction films were nominated as Contemporary Films, "Downsizing" and "Logan."  The first works for me, while I found the latter a bit suspect.  Doesn't this film happen in 2029?  Still, I'm glad to see nominations for both, making a total of eight speculative fiction live-action films nominated out of possible fifteen.
4.    ANIMATED FILM

CARS 3
Production Designers: WILLIAM CONE, JAY SHUSTER
COCO
Production Designer: HARLEY JESSUP
DESPICABLE ME 3
Art Director: OLIVIER ADAM
THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE
Production Designer: GRANT FRECKELTON
LOVING VINCENT
Production Designer: MATTHEW BUTTON
I'm glad to see "Cars 3" get some recognition.  It's been generally ignored by the awards shows I've covers so far, although it has received some recognition from the Annie Awards and the Sound Editors Guild.  It might get into the Academy Awards because of all the Disney/Pixar voters.  If so, a worthy film will not make the cut.  Speaking of which, "Loving Vincent" is the one nominee that I don't consider to be speculative fiction.

That's it for films.  Follow over the jump for television and other nominees.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

CDC switches from nuclear war to flu as epidemic declared just before false alarm in Hawaii


When I wrote "I'll return to reality tomorrow with some real-life DOOM," I had in mind the CDC special session about nuclear detonation that had been scheduled for today.  Over the weekend, that changed, as Wochit News reported in CDC Shifts From Nuclear Strike To Influenza

The Center for Disease Control’s January 16th special session advising Americans on what to do in the event of a nuclear war has shifted topic. It will now be about what to do in the event of flu season. As reported by the New York Times, the CDC announced the shift because the flu was particularly bad this year. The announcement read, "To date, this influenza season is notable for the sheer volume of flu that most of the United States is seeing at the same time, which can stress health systems."
To get an idea how severe this year's outbreak is, ABC News reported Flu epidemic strikes US: CDC on Friday the 12th.

With 13 weeks of flu season left, some hospitals face an IV fluid shortage as they treat the sick.
I'll get back to the IV shortage after I share How to protect yourself when someone in your family has the flu from ABC News, posted yesterday.  It probably won't be much different from what the CDC says along with the admonition to get vaccinated (I got my shot in October during my first doctor visit after being diagnosed as a Type I diabetic; there are advantages to being under close medical supervision).

Dr. Jennifer Ashton shares tips on how to keep the rest of the household healthy when one family member at home comes down with the flu.
All of that looks like good advice to follow in the worst flu epidemic since 2014, when I wrote Flu claiming lives in Michigan and California.

I did mention I'd get back to the IV shortage.  That's because of the impact of Hurricane Maria.  As WXYZ reported last week, Hurricane damage in Puerto Rico is impacting hospitals in metro Detroit.

It was September when Hurricane Maria, the tenth most intense Atlantic hurricane on record, slammed into Puerto Rico.  It claimed lives, destroyed buildings and knocked out power to the entire island.   Now the U.S. territory, which happens to be home to dozens of pharmaceutical manufacturing plants, is still struggling to recover. More than 600,000 customers remain without power.  It is impacting hospitals across the country and right here in metro-Detroit.
Welcome to an example of "everything is connected to everything else."  Who'd have thought a hurricane in Puerto Rico would affect flu treatment in the rest of the U.S. months later?  Well, it is.  Maybe power should be restored more quickly in Puerto Rico in order to improve health care on the mainland.

One of the ironies in changing the subject of the CDC briefing and the map associated with the declaration of the the flu epidemic is that the state least affected by flu right now is Hawaii and the 50th state was the one most affected by the threat of nuclear war.  Follow over the jump for that news.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Celebrating diversity in awards shows nominees and winners for MLK Day 2018


A happy and contemplative Martin Luther King Day to my readers!  To celebrate, I'm continuing the tradition I began with 'Glory' from 'Selma' for MLK Day and continued with Hollywood's diversity issues for MLK Day and 'Hidden Figures' tops the box office for MLK Day plus diversity among Golden Globes winners, examining diversity and representation in entertainment, which I wrote I would do yesterday.  I already looked at diversity among winners at the Golden Globes winners, so I today I'll feature diversity among music nominees at the Golden Globe Awards and winners of the Critics' Choice Awards.

Two nominees for Best Song, one at both the Grammy Awards and Critics' Choice Awards and another at the Golden Globes, begin today's celebration.  The one in the preview image is "Stand Up For Something" by Andra Day feat. Common. Written by Diane Warren and Lonnie Lynn, from the original soundtrack to the motion picture "Marshall", in theaters Oct. 13, 2017.


While I'm still confident this song will be nominated for an Oscar and is still my favorite to win the Grammy, I am less confident it will win an Academy Award.  I expect "Remember Me" from "Coco" will instead.

The next song for today is Mary J Blige - "Mighty River" (Mudbound OST).


Blige not only wrote and performed the song, but also starred in the film.  I would be pleasantly surprised if it were nominated for an Oscar, although doing so would likely push out either or both of "Truth to Power" from "An Inconvenient Sequel" and "Tell Me How Long" from "Chasing Coral."  Well, I can't have everything.  On the other hand, this song is eligible for a Creative Arts Emmy Award and should be nominated this summer.

Follow over the jump for diverse winners from the Critics' Choice Awards.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

'The Handmaid's Tale' leads speculative fiction winners at the Critics' Choice Television Awards


To conclude 'The Shape of Water' leads speculative fiction winners at the Critics' Choice Movie Awards, I told my readers "I'm not done with the Critics' Choice Awards.  Stay tuned for the television winners as the Sunday Entertainment feature."  Read along as I follow through by checking the predictions I made in Speculative fiction and science at the 2018 Critics' Choice Television Awards, just as I did yesterday with the movie nominees, comparing them to the winners.

I begin with the three categories in which "The Handmaid's Tale" earned nominations.
Best Drama Series

American Gods (Starz)
The Crown (Netflix)
Game of Thrones (HBO)
The Handmaid’s Tale (Hulu)
Stranger Things (Netflix)
This Is Us (NBC)
This field looks like the one for the comparable award from this year's Emmys with "Westworld" replaced by "Game of Thrones" and "American Gods" filling in for both "Better Call Saul" and "House of Cards."  I'm particularly glad to see "American Gods" recognized for headline awards instead of just technical ones like Main Title Design and Special Visual Effects in a Supporting Role.  That written, I don't think it will win this category.  Nor will the show I'm rooting for, "Stranger Things 2."  Instead, I suspect that a lot of the voters overlap with those for the Television Critics Association Awards, where "The Handmaid's Tale" won the equivalent category plus Program of the Year.  Added to the five awards "The Handmaid's Tale" won on the last night of the Emmys, where it won the equivalent award as well, and I'd say that the Hulu adaptation of Margaret Atwood's dystopian classic is the favorite to win this category.
I was absolutely right, it did.  Watch The Handmaid's Tale Wins Best Drama Critics Choice Awards 2018.


I called the next one as well.
Best Actress in a Drama Series

Caitriona Balfe – Outlander (Starz)
Christine Baranski – The Good Fight (CBS All Access)
Claire Foy – The Crown (Netflix)
Tatiana Maslany – Orphan Black (BBC America)
Elisabeth Moss – The Handmaid’s Tale (Hulu)
Robin Wright – House of Cards (Netflix)
Half of nominees represent speculative fiction series, Caitriona Balfe for "Outlander," Tatiana Maslany in "Orphan Black," and Elisabeth Moss in "The Handmaid's Tale."  If this were up to a vote of the viewers, Balfe would win.  It's not.  I think it's between the past two Emmy winners for Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series, Maslany, who won last year and Moss, who won this year.  I might have more to say about Christine Baranski, Claire Foy, and Robin Wright, who are all starring in political dramas, in a future entry about political shows nominated for awards.
If pushed, I'd have said Moss would have been favored over Maslany and I'd have been right.  Here's Norman Reedus (Woo, hoo!  Daryl Dixon!) announcing as  Elisabeth Moss Wins Critics Choice Awards 2018.


I'm glad to see and hear her thanking everyone in the collaborative enterprise that is shooting a television program.  Everyone is needed and they are all important.

I have one last category for "The Handmaid's Tale."
Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series

Gillian Anderson – American Gods (Starz)
Emilia Clarke – Game of Thrones (HBO)
Ann Dowd – The Handmaid’s Tale (Hulu)
Cush Jumbo – The Good Fight (CBS All Access)
Margo Martindale – Sneaky Pete (Amazon)
Chrissy Metz – This Is Us (NBC)
Gillian Anderson is the actress playing one of the "new gods" I mentioned earlier.  She plays Media in "American Gods."  Joining her in representing speculative fiction shows is Emilia Clarke and Ann Dowd.  Dowd won the Emmy, so I would say she is the favorite, although Margo Martindale is a perennial winner of the guest actress Emmy Award, so she might be able to pull off an upset in a supporting role.
As I expected, Dowd won again.  Apparently, she didn't expect it, given the excellence of the actresses against whom she was competing.  Watch her reaction in Ann Dowd Wins Supporting Actress Critics Choice Awards 2018.


With that, "The Handmaid's Tale" swept all of the categories in which it was nominated, reminiscent of the last night of the Emmys.

Follow over the jump for the rest of the winners.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

'The Shape of Water' leads speculative fiction winners at the Critics' Choice Movie Awards


I wrote "Back to fantasy for the three-day weekend" at the end of Ambassador Pete Hoekstra denies Islamophobic comments, calling them 'fake news', and I meant it.  In fact, I have quite the entertainment agenda for today through Monday, beginning with revisiting my predictions in 'The Shape of Water' leads speculative fiction at the 2018 Critics' Choice Movie Awards and comparing them to the winners.  I begin with what I wrote above the jump for "The Shape of Water."
Nominations for the 2018 Broadcast Film Critics Association’s Critics’ Choice Awards have been announced. Guillermo del Toro’s sci-fi romance The Shape of Water stole the show with a dominating 14 nominations [including] Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress, and Best Cinematography.
Deadline lists all of them, which I've re-ordered to suit my priorities: Best Picture, Best Sci-Fi or Horror Movie, Best Actress for Sally Hawkins, Best Supporting Actor for Richard Jenkins, Best Supporting Actress for Octavia Spencer, Best Director for Guillermo del Toro, Best Original Screenplay for Guillermo del Toro and Vanessa Taylor, Best Cinematography for Dan Laustsen, Best Production Design for Paul Denham Austerberry, Shane Vieau, and Jeff Melvin, Best Editing for Sidney Wolinsky, Best Costume Design for Luis Sequeira, Best Hair and Makeup, Best Visual Effects, and Best Score for Alexandre Desplat.  Wow!  Not only do these 14 nominations lead speculative fiction films, they lead all films nominated.
As my readers could surmise from the preview image, it won four awards, including two in the categories it won at the Golden Globes: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Production Design, and Best Score.  That made it not only the most nominated film, but the most winning film, beating out "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri" with its three trophies.  Congratulations!*

At least one of my predictions didn't come true and another has yet to be tested.
I had thought either "Beauty and the Beast" or "Pirates of the Caribbean" to be the best fantasy film of 2017.  No longer.  I now think "The Shape of Water" will be the favorite in that category at the Saturn Awards and in Best Sci-Fi or Horror Movie here in the Critics' Choice Awards.
"The Shape of Water" may have won Best Picture, but it didn't win Best Sci-Fi or Horror Movie.  I'll examine that paradox over the jump.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Ambassador Pete Hoekstra denies Islamophobic comments, calling them 'fake news'


Pete Hoekstra, who I first wrote about when he ran a Super Bowl ad using racist stereotypes, made news last month in his capacity as U.S. Ambassador to the Netherlands.  CNN reported it in US ambassador's 'fake news' claim backfires.

In an interview with a Dutch reporter, US Ambassador to the Netherlands Peter Hoekstra denied a comment he made in 2015 about the "Islamic movement," calling it fake news. Then he denied his denial.
I had the following to say about this news my comment on A Novel Excuse for Lying.
LOL and ick, Pete Hoekstra.  I'm embarrassed to admit that he's from Michigan.  Worse yet, he served in Congress for 18 years including a stint as Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee from 2004 to 2007, making him about as Establishment Republican as one gets around here.  He came in second to Rick Snyder in the Republican Primary for Governor, as a lot of independents and Democrats crossed over to keep someone they saw as too conservative from winning the nomination.  He then ran for U.S. Senate in 2012, losing to Debbie Stabenow.  He showed his ass then, as his campaign hired the same ad firm that made the Christine O'Donnell "I am not a witch" spot.  They made a commercial that used Chinese ethnic stereotypes and aired during the Super Bowl.  It pissed off a lot of people, including a Chinese-American Republican County Commissioner who promptly donated to his primary rival.  After that loss, I thought I'd never hear about him again.  Ha!  He's back!

The worst part is that Hoekstra's not a bad pick for Ambassador to Holland on paper.  He was born in Holland, he has governmental experience, he has foreign policy experience, he has Establishment credentials, blah, blah, blah.  Yeah, and all kinds of people who look good on paper are disasters in person, Hoekstra included.
At least six users on Booman Tribune agreed with me, rating this comment as excellent (4 of 4), making it my highest rated comment on the site last month.  As for Hoekstra, I doubt his Islamophobic remarks, his denial, and his denial of his denial are that well regarded.

Enough reality.  Back to fantasy for the three-day weekend.